Local News

5 Sampson Deputies Indicted

Posted May 14, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Some local law enforcement officers are in big trouble themselves, charged with some serious crimes.

A Sampson County grand jury has indicted members of a drug enforcement unit, after a lengthy investigation that shut down the entire task force and freed more than 30 accused criminals.

Four Sampson County deputies have been indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of embezzlement. But that is only the beginning of their troubles.

They were part of the drug enforcement unit, supposed to use money to buy drugs and catch drug dealers. But in this case, the district attorney says, they are charged with putting that money into their own pockets.

In this rural county, trust in the law is lost.

"Of course you are always shocked because you don't expect it from people that you are supposed to be able to look up to," one resident said.

"I think we are all just shocked," said Sampson County's District Attorney Dewey Hudson.

Hudson says an SBI investigation has found special drug enforcement deputies Jack Campbell, Ronnie Newkirk, Bobbie Herring and Donald Potter embezzled nearly $30,000 from the drug enforcement unit.

"They would have two funds, one to give the informants and one to pay the drug dealers. What they were doing, they were embellishing the amounts they gave the informants and to the drug dealers. And they were pocketing the excess," Hudson says.

Fellow drug enforcement deputy Paul Howell is facing multiple charges. He is charged with drug trafficking and a grand jury indicted him Monday on charges of attempted murder for his involvement in a home invasion back in 1998.

All five deputies have either resigned or been fired.